You have been arrest or charged with a first offense minor misdemeanor offense such as petty theft, drunk in public, disturbing the peace, simple battery or some other offense. You are not a citizen of the United States. You get a court date and decide to not hire a criminal defense lawyer in Sacramento.
You go to court for the arraignment and you hear that you are eligible for diversion. You are told that by accepting diversion, the case will be dismissed if you do some type of class and stay out of trouble for a few months. It sounds good right?
The problem is that for diversion in most counties including Sacramento, it means that you enter a plea of “guilty” or “no contest,” you are not sentenced right away, the case is continued until you complete a class and proof is shown that it is completed. If everything goes well, the case gets dismissed.
Far too often, non-citizens believe it is a great resolution since the case is dismissed.
The problem – under federal law for immigration purposes, it is still considered a conviction and can result in problems when applying for naturalization or even a permanent residency status.
In some cases, there are ways to mitigate immigration consequences by what is termed a “pre-plea diversion” where a plea is not entered, do the required class, and then have the case dismissed.
If you are not a citizen, then it is imperative that you consult and experienced criminal defense attorney aware of these issues as well as an immigration attorney to minimize federal consequences. The best thing to do is to do so before the arraignment or at the first court date, if you do not have an attorney, ask for time to consult one before taking any type of offer.
The Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka provides legal services for defense of DUI and Criminal cases in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Solano, Yolo and surrounding counties. Sacramento DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney Joshua Kaizuka will aggressively defend your DUI or criminal case. Call (916) 706-0678 for a free consultation.